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House that Jack built

This is the farmer sowing the corn / that kept the cock that crowed in the morn…

Some people are born indispensable; other achieve indispensability and still others have indispensability thrust upon them.

There is no way to know for certain, beyond any reasonable doubt even, which category Jack Austin Warner falls into.

Who can say for sure, with little or no chance of successful contradiction, what were Uncle Jack’s true intentions decades ago before he ended up on the business end of football?

Maybe the farmer sowing the corn intended to use the grain to feed the many cocks that crowed in the Caribbean morn, to make Caribbean football slowly, over time, the gem of the sporting world.

Maybe he did have aspirations to take an entire region, physically small enough to fit easily into most developed countries, and raise them to the pinnacle of the world’s greatest sport.

Maybe he dreamed of making the little dots on the map loom so large as to be spoken of with awe by the sport’s most ardent pundits and fans.

Maybe he believed that the names of little nations, once unheard of, could one day be ranked alongside soccer’s perennial giants and that he would be able to sell that idea to football’s grands seigneurs.

Maybe. Maybe. There is always a chance that it started that way. Maybe…

This is the farmer sowing the corn / that milked the cow with the crumpled horn…

But then again, maybe not.

Maybe the farmer sowing the corn had his eye from the outset on the maiden all forlorn. Not because he wanted, like the man all shaven and shorn, to kiss her but because she was the one whose job it was to milk the cow with the ‘crumpled’ horn.

My thesaurus lists ‘crumpled’ in the same group as ‘crooked.’ And although we might be getting our animals mixed up here, ‘milk’ occurs in the same verb list as ‘fleece.’

So maybe our farmer connected the dots and saw a straight line between the cock that crowed in the morn and the cow to be milked with the crumpled horn. Maybe that was when the dream of putting Caribbean football not on the map but in his back pocket was born.

And then all thoughts of serving the people, serving the people, serving the people were gone.

Jack the Dreamer became Jack the Schemer, the combination of never-ending trips around the world, fancy offices and three-piece suits leading inevitably to a business meeting over a sumptuous continental breakfast in a five-star hotel in Sweden and an offer that simply could not be refused. Maybe…

This is the farmer sowing the corn / that married the man all shaven and shorn…

I imagine that a man of Uncle Jack’s God-given gifts would not have baulked at offending public sentiment in pursuit of his goals. By any means necessary, he told the whole country when challenged as to why he oversold the stadium on 19 November 1989.

So both nimble and quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick and landed feet-first in FIFA. Fifa-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a corrupt man. Many corrupt men.

And soon, Jack Austin Warner was just another cog in the monster money-making machine that is football’s umbrella organisation.

It comes as no surprise to me that he flourished in the FIFA environment. Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. Put another way, whey yuh choose to tie, dais whey yuh does graze.

So my mouth does not fall open in amazement at how well Uncle Jack has done for himself. No. What I find amazing is the number of times the name Jack Warner has been called in football-related money scandals.

Where it have so much smoke, it bound to have at least a little bit ah fire, ent?

But Uncle Jack simply didn’t give two whistles and a red card. And got away with it. Over and over.

In our beautiful Banana Republic, long before the man was close to controlling the Minister of National Security who controls the national Fire Service, one nonsense excuse, one well-timed lie, one airy dismissal with a wave of the hand and ‘poof!’ just so all smoke and fire gone!

Until one day a Qatari called Mohammed Bin Hamman brought into the house that Jack built a few million dollars in cold hard US cash and some dog tossed the cat and blew the whistle…

This is the farmer sowing the corn / that smelled the rat…

Encouraged and sustained by FIFA bigwigs eager to have a part-time front man and full-time puppet as well as supported by representatives of countries no less eager for FIFA to smile upon them and toss them some crumbs from the masters’ table, Warner had long been allowed to laugh in the face of the repeated serious accusations of financial irregularity.

In the real world, anyone else with so long a list of such serious allegations, transgressions, if you prefer not to be diplomatic, would long before have landed in the safe confines of a prison.

Warner renounced FIFA but he did not mend his ways; he merely amended them to suit his new restricted geographical context.

He knew that the game was up but he knew too that that meant only internationally, not in the banana republic.

So, he soldiers on still, responding to questions about where his ample fortune had come from with sneers of “Ask yuh mudder” – or actions to that effect.

Here in T&T, it is still business as usual, the regular FIFA-style nine-to-five hustle but with different rats marching to the piper’s music, to the tune, perhaps, of millions of tax dollars, the mafia, if you like, without the dead bodies.

This is the farmer sowing the corn / that the PP told he could go on.

In the house that Jack built, corruption and greed abound. And where corruption and greed abound, power decides who will wear the crown.

Even without the active backing of the TTFF, the CFU, the CONCACAF and the FIFA, Jack Warner remains an immensely powerful man, always a prime mover, sometimes a prime minister.

Even the ones who now see him as a modern-day Frankenstein, whom they have created and regret the contributions they made to what he has become, watch him and are afraid to touch him.

The Haitian Football Federation alleged Warner forgot to bring the money donated by FIFA and South Korea although he denied that accusation

Who, they ask, will have the guts to try to demolish the house that Jack built, a Centre of Excellence, to undo what they have done?

Some people, you see, are born indispensable, others achieve indispensability and still others have indispensability thrust upon them. But the people is more powerful than some people.

“When the people lose their temper,” Fidel Castro’s Granma once warned, “all injustice trembles.”

If the rat that ate the malt could be killed by the cat that was tossed by the dog, we ought to be able to do something with the farmer who sowed the corn. And without him and the house that he built!

But we have to be prepared to take action.

However, perhaps because it is true that who have more corn feed more fowl, we the public, we the people, like we police and we PP, are not really prepared, it seems, to act in accordance with what our collective conscience should dictate.

 

The writer of this piece is prepared to assist the police in any investigation it decides to mount.

AboutKirk A Inniss

Kirk A Inniss
Kirk .A. Inniss is a Trinidad-born, New York-based author of The Black Butterflies and Lessons for My Children. Sometimes he works with the Writers and Poets Union, to write for his supper. He absolutely refuses to sing though.

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2 comments

  1. I need to see both you and Kirk in the same place together at the same time Lasana… This reads so much like one of yours! Excellent article written in a darkly humorous tone!

  2. Thank you for this entertaining, mind boggling sober article… He now wants to destroy 13 communities in the Oropouche Lagoon in South Trinidad to further his quest to become a maximum “leader” like Hitler…He is using a similar propaganda to fool the people. We need your help to avert the utter destruction of our beloved Trinidad and Tobago.. Truth is the only thing that defeats deception.